Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hummingbird Cupcakes

I have been in a baking mood lately.  Not just any baking - but CUPCAKES.  And I blame Food Network.  No box mixes and ready-made frosting here -  I'm talking scratch, homemade gourmet cupcakes. 
Last week I whipped up my favorite sour cream chocolate cake recipe into a batch of cupcakes, topped with a delicious chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Fortunately, our church has a potluck lunch every Sunday after service... so the majority were whisked off to church so as not to land on my hips.

This week I had some bananas that needed to be used up, and rather than make my mainstay banana bread, I decided to try Hummingbird Cupcakes!  Hummingbird Cake is a favorite Southern dessert, made with bananas, pineapple, and pecans. It is similar to a carrot cake, but without the carrots!  This recipe comes from Martha Stewart;  I made a couple of small changes - added applesauce, subbed oil for half the butter, and reduced the sugar a bit.  And instead of the cream cheese frosting, I substituted a creamy cinnamon buttercream. YUM!!!!

Hummingbird Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup melted butter ( 1 stick)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs - room temperature
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside.  

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, to toast. Set aside.  

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next.  Beat at medium speed until mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 

In another medium bowl, stir together the mashed banana, drained pineapple, applesauce, walnuts, and coconut. Add to the egg mixture, mixing until combined. Stir in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until just combined ( Do not overmix, or cake will be dry!) 

Fill cupcake cups about 3/4 full.  Bake until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  

Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Frost with Cinnamon Buttercream.

Makes 24.

Cinnamon Buttercream 

3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup butter, softened
6 cups sifted powdered confectioners sugar
1 Tbl. cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
In a mixing bowl with whisk attachment, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy.  Add sugar and cinnamon, and continue creaming until well blended. 

Add salt, vanilla, and cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Then beat on high speed for 5 minutes, until fluffy. 

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